Loose Fruit Mamas: Creating Incentives for Smallholder Women in Oil Palm Production in Papua New Guinea
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This paper presents a case study of the introduction of a more gender equitable payment scheme for oil palm smallholders in Papua New Guinea. Women are now paid separately from their husbands for their work on family oil palm plots thereby increasing the economic incentives for women to commit labor to oil palm production. The study incorporates broader local cultural and economic processes in the analysis of intra-household gender and labor relations to explain how the new payment systems successfully resolved intra-household disputes over labor and income. The paper highlights the critical role export firms can play in enhancing women’s access to commodity crop income. Further, the paper demonstrates that by widening the framework of household analysis, insights can be gained into two key questions that have received only limited attention in the literature: the question of why men do not share a greater proportion of cash crop income with other family members; and, the apparent inability of families to resolve intra-household conflicts over income.
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